Covid-19 Pandemic

Today on Stateside, we check in with the director of Michigan’s department of Health and Human Services in light of the new COVID-19 orders going into effect Wednesday. We'll also hear about how Native Americans in nineteenth century Michigan were at the forefront of the fight for equal voting rights in the state. Plus, a conversation about how to have awkward conversations surrounding your Thanksgiving plans (or lack thereof).

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Starting Wednesday, restaurants in Michigan are again limited to delivery and takeout, high school and college classes can only be online, and non-professional sports games are cancelled. That’s under an order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s public health director.

Taylor Wizner

 

Northwest lower Michigan is seeing a rapid rise in the number of COVID cases. Until recently, the region has largely avoided COVID spikes.

But as temperatures drop, residents are having to shift practices and behavior. 

In late May when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order for northern Michigan, Traverse City local Tyler Harkert braced for a rush of downstaters. 

Morgan Springer

 

Update 10/22/30: TCAPS says TC Central High School  will return to in-class learning on Friday. The district says the health department completed its contact tracing efforts.

Traverse City Area Public Schools has closed TC Central High School for two days after positive COVID-19 test results from someone at the school were reported Tuesday. Depending on how many were exposed, or how long the health department needs to contact trace, the school may have to continue virtual instruction for longer, possibly for 14 days, TCAPS Superintendent John VanWagoner says.

Stateside for Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today on Stateside, we take a look at the troubling rise in COVID-19 cases in Kent County. Also, a conversation about Jackson County’s history as a birthplace for  Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party. Plus, we talk to two election attorneys about the possibility of contested election results after the presidential election.

Courtesy Michigan Executive Officer of the Governor

Citing a recent surge of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving the region back one stage in the state’s reopening plan.

 

The order will take effect Friday, October 9.

Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance

Cold fall and winter weather may be the death knell for some northern Michigan bars and restaurants, worry several northern Michigan chambers of commerce.

 

Currently, the state requires these restaurants only seat 50% occupancy indoors, while bars can’t serve any patrons inside. Over the summer, the venues overcame those limits by serving more people outside. 

Consumers Energy says it will help thousands of northern Michigan residents with their energy bills. The company is pledging $12 million to help state residents and small business owners hit hard by the pandemic.

The utility says for the first time it’s offering assistance to families at most income levels who struggle to pay their bills. They say 40,000 customers in Michigan owe money or are in crisis.

Screenshot of the MI Safe Start Map on Sept. 24

 

Cases of COVID-19 in the Traverse City region have been declining this week and the percent of positive tests has also been decreasing.

 

  

 

But public health officials repeat the same refrain: don’t let your guard down. The pandemic is far from over and the upcoming flu season, in-person classes resuming and the cold pushing people in-doors — where risk is higher — remain top of mind.

 

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Testing wastewater can rapidly detect COVID-19 outbreaks in college campuses, nursing homes and prisons.

Thanks to a $10 million dollar grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act the state is beginning to test wastewater across Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the State Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will team up with local health departments and colleges for the three month pilot.

On Stateside, how can schools keep COVID-19 cases under control on campus, while also holding in-person classes? Albion College is hoping that their pandemic pod model might be the answer. Also, why the spectacular skies caused by Western wildfires are a reminder of the collective stakes of climate change. And finally, we hear from members of an artist collective that questions white people's fascination with—and sometimes fetishization of—Indigenous culture.

On Stateside, the state Senate passed a bill this week that allows local and county clerks to begin preparing absentee ballots a day ahead of the election. We check in with two clerks on whether the state's election system is ready for a potential wave of absentee ballots as November approaches. Also, a Detroit Free Press reporter updates on the Big Ten’s decision to resume football this fall. Plus, a look at the legacy of the first Black faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Today on Stateside, a petition aiming to curb the governor's executive powers is nearing the number of signatures it needs. And, graduate students at the University of Michigan are continuing their strike against the school over concerns about COVID-19 regulations and precautions. Plus, a conversation with the director of Michigan Opera Theatre about how he plans to add to Detroit’s illustrious musical legacy.

On Stateside, a church in Romeo grapples with systemic and politically motivated vandalism. And, what six months of COVID have looked like. Plus, we continue a focus on Detroit Month of Design with a conversation with the winner of the Design in the City competition.

Courtesy Legs Inn

 

A steady stream of visitors to resort areas in northern Michigan over the summer exceeded national tourism averages. But local businesses are still hurting from lost revenue during the state’s COVID-19 lockdown, and are now putting their hopes into fall tourism.

Peter Payette

Maria San Miguel was nervous about getting a coronavirus test. 

“I was seeing on the television and the internet that there was something they were going to put up your nose really far,” she says in Spanish. 

Friske Farm Market Facebook page

 

A northern Michigan health department says it’s struggling to make a local market comply with a state executive order. Now the Antrim County store may have also been a COVID-19 exposure site.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Northwest lower Michigan health departments reported 37 possible COVID-19 exposure sites since Monday, August 10.

 

They included typical exposure sites, including restaurants, retail stores and airplane flights, but they also include other types of locations that have recently cropped up — a community pool, skate park and a ferry.

Ellie Harold’s migration inspired art installation, “Birds Fly In: A Human Refuge,” is on display at the Oliver Art Center in Frankfort through Sept. 11, 2020.
Diane Frederick

In 2017, artist Ellie Harold was stuck in traffic in Atlanta. There was road rage all around her, and she started feeling it bubble up inside of her too. She asked herself, “Wouldn’t it be great if people could just have a place to go for a time out?”


From left to right, David Chown, Laurie Sears and Miriam Picó released a new album recently called, 'Live at St. Andrews'.
Lancaster Photography

A trio of Traverse City artists are out with a new album called "Live at St. Andrews." It features David Chown, Miriam Picó and Laurie Sears during a 2018 show at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beulah.


Courtesy MUNSON HEALTHCARE

 

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise steadily in northern Michigan, Munson Healthcare is treating fewer patients and reports it has enough resources to treat those who need hospital care.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen Arts Academy will test all of its students and staff for COVID-19 this August with help from a Boston lab.

The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department

 

Helene Mitchell, a 17-year-old resident of Leland, kept her friend group small this summer to avoid the coronavirus.

Still her friend tested positive and she was exposed.

Shari Bernstein

This week a shopper in Meijer in Acme threatened an employee with a knife, upset he was told to wear a mask.

In Lansing, a man was stabbed and in May, a security guard at a Flint dollar store was shot to death.

Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Authorities say they have arrested a man who pulled a knife on a Meijer employee in northern Michigan after she asked him to wear a mask.

The alleged incident occurred on Sunday afternoon, when a Kalkaska County man went shopping for groceries at the Meijer in Acme Township.

Grand Traverse County Detective Captain Randy Fewless says one employee would not let the man go in the store.

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